YOU KNOW YOUR OLD—when all the first superhero STARS from updated franchise movies have been replaced multiple times over since you first watched the original film adaptation.  Just as a tree shows its age with the expanding rings inside its trunk, so too does a modern man measure his aging by the assortment of replacements of movie sequel superhero stars in each succeeding movie.

By this point, it becomes downright impossible to attempt to follow, let alone care, about the most recent Spiderman, Batman, or Superman lead actors due to the many alterations in the evolutionary process.

The whole thing begins to lose steam and seem a bit too trite and irrelevant for a baby boomer like myself after a while.  I mean I liked them all pretty much—Michael Keaton, Christopher Reeves, Toby McGuire, Val Kilmer—well maybe I wasn’t as keen on Val Kilmer.

But enough already.  How geeky and scholarly do we have to be with Marvel comics to keep expecting these superheroes to be more realistic and authentic each time?  Who wants or needs to learn the psychological underpinnings as to why Bruce Wayne became so obsessive and warped as a crime fighter?

On the subject of wearisome sequels that should have been laid to rest much earlier, how about Karate Kid?

Does anyone even recall Karate Kid 4?  The one and only to feature a karate GIRL played by a young Hilary Swank alongside the late Pat Moriarti?

Humor me briefly as I attempt to run down the basic formula of the Karate Kid franchise spawning’s:  Karate Kid 1 in which the boy has his first girlfriend in LA and develops enemies which he finally vanquishes in the karate tournament finals.  Karate Kid 2 in which the boy and the old mentor go to Japan and the kid gets a new girlfriend (the old one moved away) along with new enemies which can only be defeated in the final tournament again.  Karate Kid 3 in which our kid is back in LA and gets a new girlfriend (the old one went to dance college).  Karate Kid 4 in which the boy becomes a GIRL!?  And finally the recent Karate Kid (unnumbered) in which the boy is now black and his coach is Jackie Chan (an inspirational move for a dying brand of sequels).  In each one he inevitably meets new enemies and becomes TRICKED into enrolling in another karate tournament which his mentor reluctantly, at the last second to coach him one more time.  And each time, so desperate are the bad guys to get Daniel–son to enter the competition, that they would resort to petty crime, kidnapping, and even murder to tick him off enough to agree to sign up (talk about your Clubber Lang enticements to fight ala Rocky 4).

I just wish ONCE in my lifetime, that some bad guys would care enough to GOAD me into entering some competition!

Amazingly, the white Karate Kid (Ralph Machio) never gets any better or matures with his acting talents as he continues to foist lame lines in the face of his enemy’s villainy to the very last one: “come on now guys.  Cut it out.  You guys have gone too far!”

But back to my subject on sequels and superheroes.  I think Hollywood has shamelessly plundered and stolen through the 1960s and 70’s TV shows for far long enough now—to make any baby boomer STOP feeling sentimental.  The barrel must have a bottom.  It’s time I move on and it’s probably right and natural that I have long ago stopped memorizing the lineage of actors replacing other actors.

And I will, in my last golden years, go back to what’s always worked for me: the schlocky, innocent glory of the original Batman TV series with Adam West.  There was never a need to go further.  The Child is the father of the man.


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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